Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Flaws in Rape Law


Every year, about 293,000 sexual assaults take place, and another American gets raped or sexually assaulted every 107 seconds. 97 out of every 100 rapists walk free with no punishment or jail time. One may ask the question, “Why don’t more rapists get punished? Rape is a serious crime!”. This is where technicalities come in; where a rich man in a nice suit can decide whether or not a rape case is even worth taking to court. What dictates whether or not a rape case is worthy? A lack of witnesses is a big reason as to why most rape cases don’t make it. If the victim is a female, there is an even bigger chance of the rape case not making it to court, because more than likely, her attacker is claiming the sexual encounter was consensual, and rape cases almost always favor the man if there’s a lack of evidence and two stories are being told. The staggering amount of rapists walking free makes the crime seem as though it has no punishment, and this is why rape still increases by the minute. If more rapists were put in jail for their actions and given serious prison time, the number of sexual assaults would undoubtedly decrease. This concept is similar to the stance on drunk driving: if you increase prison time for a drunk driver, especially one that’s actions resulted in death, the number of drunk drivers would decrease. Rape cases need to be brought to court no matter how many witnesses there were or how much evidence there is, and the punishment for a rapist needs to be serious prison time.

Of the 293,000 victims that are raped per year, 80% are under age 30, and 44% are under age 18. That means there’s a large amount of mere children being assaulted. A common misconception is that most rapes occur in dark alleys or parking garages and that the attacker is usually a stranger. In reality, however, it’s most likely someone the victim knows, and it most likely occurs near or in their house. There’s virtually no way of knowing whether a close loved one could actually be a future attacker. If you walked a busy city street, one would not be able to separate the convicted rapists from the latter; 97% of all rapists walk free without spending even a day in jail. This is a very scary statistic- a neighbor or a friend or even a work colleague could have raped in the past and got away with it. More than half of all rape cases report that the incident happened within one mile of their home, and about four in ten cases actually take place in the victim’s home. 47% of rapists attack a friend or acquaintance. Rapists are everywhere, they just look like average people. This is the most dangerous part about identifying a rapist: they’re almost unidentifiable. Rape is a crime that often has long-term effects on its victims. 31% of all rape victims will develop PTSD and 11% of those will have it for life. This is about 1.3 million American women suffering with rape-related PTSD. Now, imagine an anxiety-ridden rape victim knowing that their rapist is out there, walking free without penalty, free to rape once more. Some victims are afraid to leave their home, and others never go out without someone else. Rape has a permanent effect on its victims, and the rapist most often is never punished for this damage. One might argue that school campuses are the most guilty of dishing out unfitting penalties for rapists. A freshman at Indiana University (whose name will not be shared) was raped on campus by a fellow student while she was in and out of consciousness due to intoxication. The initial punishment for her attacker was a 60-day suspension from campus during a summer semester. No expulsion was made, and the rapist made off with an easy punishment for a horrible act of sexual assault. This leads this topic to excuses made to protect the rapist- What was she/he wearing? Was she/he intoxicated? Did she/he ask for it?- rape law as a whole has hundreds of loopholes for the rapist to wiggle their way into. Rape should not be justified if the victim was wearing suggestive clothing or if the victim was intoxicated. The fact that rape cases can be dismissed because of these factors is ridiculous. This concept is similar to looking at a murder case and defending the murderer by asking if the victim was aggravating the murderer. Nobody is forced to rape. Rape is a choice, and no matter what the state of the victim is, it is always wrong.

This data was collected for a reason: to prove how serious rape is and how the cases aren’t taken as seriously as they need to be. The amount of people affected by rape is too large for there not to be more rapists in jail. Again, out of the 293,000 people raped every year, only 3% of the rapists end up serving any kind of prison time. If they do, by some miracle, serve time, it is not long enough. Studies were done with drunk driving that showed that a rise in penalty for drunk drivers led to a decline in drunk driving. This would be the same with rape. The rapists feel safe; the feel that they can commit the crime and face zero or no punishment at all. Putting more rapists in jail for longer amounts of time would almost definitely lead to a decline in rape overall, and would pull dangerous rapists off of the street. The problem is the legal system and their leniency with rape cases as well as small technicalities that determine whether or not the case can be brought to court. One of the biggest issues of rape law is as follows: ¨Victims don’t report rape because the law is written, by default, to make questioning their credibility an issue in prosecution and defense, rather than collecting or establishing evidence. Over 60% of rapes go unreported as a result¨. Rape victims are too afraid to report their cases because they know their credibility will be questioned, meaning that the court needs to decide whether the victim could be lying or not, as well as whether they are just doing this for attention. No rape victim wants to be looked at as a joke. Victims just want justice; they want their attacker in jail, not to be harassed by lawyers about whether the victim gave consent or not. Rape cases are too harsh in this sense. A case can easily come to a “he said/she said” stance, where the court most often favors with the attacker, believing he/she is more credible than an emotionally distraught victim. The lines of consent are very vague. and courts will often rule that the victim may have given consent without knowing it, therefore the attacker is not at fault and is free to go. Rape law is much different than others. For example, when a murder is committed, the court already knows the crime has been committed. With rape law, the court must decide if the victim was even raped to begin with. Rape Kits are available, but all they can do is identify the person that had sexual intercourse with the victim. The court must decide if the victim was raped or if they gave consent to the ¨rapist¨. It is commonly known that rape law is very difficult to deal with because the case will most likely eventually turn into two sides of a story that a jury must listen to and decide which is the truth. The selected jury, most often, will find the rapist innocent if there is not enough evidence to prove otherwise, thus creating the crazy subject of rape law we have in our world.

Let us say, for instance, that the jury believes the attacker is indeed guilty. We then enter the field of punishment. Too many times has the worn out ¨this should not ruin his/her life, it was a mistake and they have their whole lives ahead of them” gone into play, and this usually gets the rapist off the hook. Many argue that rape is not a serious crime and should not have severe punishment. This is most commonly used in the case of teenage rape. Who is to say, however, that letting a rapist go is a good thing? Their reason for being let go is that the rape was a mistake and it will never happen again, yes? Will they better themselves and have a successful future where they will never harm another soul? Juvenile's account for 16% of all rape cases, and 17% of those were arrested for other sexual offences in the past. 46% of rapists that were released from jail were arrested 3 years later for another violent crime. Many rapists will rape again if not given severe punishment. If rapists are let go, they will rape again, or will commit another crime. Is this a risk the court system is willing to take? An increase in punishment for rapists will decrease the amount of rapes taking place every year. If the penalty for walking outside a crosswalk was life in prison, there would be a definite decline in j-walkers. The same applies to rape, and any other crime, for that matter. Many actions could take place in order to decrease rape statistics: longer jail time for the attacker, stricter punishment, and more lenient rape law are some examples. All of these, however, remain undone. Here lies our problem.

Sources:
Lombardi, Kristen. “A Lack of Consequences for Sexual Assault”. The Center for Public Integrity. Web. 24 February 2010.
Kilpatrick, Dean. “The Mental Health Impact of Rape”. National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center. Web, n.d.
Burroughs Stone, Jeneva. “How The Laws Governing Rape Fail Everyone”. America Blog. Web. 15 December 2014.
RAINN. “What to Expect from the Criminal Justice System”. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. Web, n.d.
RAINN. “The Offenders”. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. Web, n.d.
RAINN. “Statistics”. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. Web, n.d.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Californication Album Review



Arguably their most popular album, Californication is the 7th studio album of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, one of the most recognizable rock bands in music history. Created in Los Angeles in 1983, the band currently consists of lead singer Anthony Kiedis, drummer Chad Smith, bassist Flea, and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, but at the time of the making of the album, the lead guitarist was John Frusciante.

Caifornication was released June 7th, 1999, and is one of the band's more popular albums, containing three of the band's most popular songs of all time (Californication, Scar Tissue, and Otherside). There are 15 songs on the album, each containing it's own emotion being expressed through lyrics and mood.

For example, songs such as Californication, Scar Tissue, Otherside, Road Trippin, and This Velvet Glove convey a deeper meaning than other songs, going deep into the mind of Anthony Kiedis and bringing up inner emotions expressed through poetry.

Otherside is a particularly popular song from the album that has a deeper meaning. The song is said to be about drug addiction, specifically heroin. The song talks about how you can't go back from a heroin addiction as well as the effects it has on the body. "The ashtray's full and I'm spilling my guts" refers to the common practice of heroin users smoking to enhance the effects of the drugs, as well as the vomiting that comes with withdrawal. The "other side" the song is talking about is the struggle with addiction.

More upbeat songs on the album such as Get On Top, Around The World, Parallel Universe, Emit Remmus, I Like Dirt, Easily, Porcelain, and Purple Stain show the funk feel the the band is most commonly known for, using upbeat rhythm to express positive emotions.

Californication (the song) is the most popular Red Hot Chili Peppers song to date. The song consists of various characteristics of Hollywood and California itself, like plastic surgery, fake movie effects, sandy beaches, and the mindset of California itself, the state being generally very easy-going and care free.

The album as a whole is a masterpiece- each song portrays a different emotion. There's a song on the album for every kind of person, whether you like upbeats or melancholy or even meaningful music. Each song is a masterpiece on it's own, making it a very popular record, selling over 15 million copies world wide. With subjects of death, lust, travel, contemplating suicide, and wonder, the album hits every emotion music can portray.

My favorite songs on the album are Scar Tissue, Otherside, and Around The World, while the only song I was not fond of was This Velvet Glove.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Olive Kitteridge Mini-Series Review




"[A] lovely, ruthless, masterfully restrained two-night, four-
hour contemplation of love, marriage, parenthood, mental
illness and identity." - Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times

Emmy and Academy Award-winning actress Francis McDormand plays the main character of this miniseries (based on the pulitzer prize-winning novel by Elizabeth Strout), Olive Kitteridge. Along side her is Richard Jenkins as loving husband Henry, Zoe Kazan as Henry's childish love interest, and many other supporting actors such as Bill Murray, Peter Mullan, and John Gallagher Jr. Directed by Lisa Cholodenko and written by both Elizabeth Strout and Jane Anderson, the miniseries has won eight awards, including Outstanding Limited Series. The miniseries aired November 2nd, 2014. Two back-to-back installments were released for an airtime of two hours one night, and the last two installments were aired for two hours the following night, completing the miniseries.

Set in Maine, the story follows Olive Kitteridge, a former school teacher, and her family, including her husband Henry, a retired pharmacist, and her son Christopher, a bratty child that grows to resent Olive for the way she treats Henry. Francis McDormand does an outstanding job of portraying the character of Olive Kitteridge, appearing naturally bitter and irritable. Her actions are so believable they are almost cringe worthy; even viewers begin to feel irritated with her. The first installment opens with Olive alone in the woods on a laid out blanket with a radio playing as she takes out a hand gun which she plans to commit suicide with. Before she can do so, however, the story flashes back to 25 years prior.

The story of Olive Kitteridge is one of struggle and unhappiness; bringing real world problems to a seemingly ordinary family at first glance. Olive, a misanthropic struggling with anxiety and depression, goes trough her life in a dull state, not caring whether she lives or dies, but caring an awful lot about EVERYTHING else. Things have to be a certain way, or they're wrong. These characteristics are shown through her son, permanently resenting her for being such an awful mother, as well as her husband, being the sweetest he could be and still not being good enough for Olive.

Henry eventually suffers a stroke and becomes indefinitely unresponsive to his surroundings. Olive accuses Christopher of not caring enough to visit before his father was sick, and Christopher fires back with the fact that she had been an awful mother and an awful wife. This clearly upsets Olive, and Christopher leaves the next day. Olive visits Henry frequently in the nursing home and believes he still knows what is happening around him. This, of course, is clear-cut denial. Olive begins to wish she had been nicer to Henry.

As Christopher grows older and marries, divorces, then remarries, Olive is asked to come to New York to help Christopher take care of his pregnant wife Ann, and the two do not seem to get along; Ann is eager to get along with Olive, but Olive does not like Ann. Ann is very critical of the way Olive raised Chris, and Olive leaves early after fighting with her son once more.

Olive Kitteridge is an absolutely outstanding story, filled with beautifully somber scenery and an outstanding soundtrack to go with it. The story shows the effects of mental illness as well as Olive's journey to finding what she really wants- and who she really is.

Near death experiences, major life events, and death surround Olive as she struggles with her own problems: uncontrollable irritability and loathing of the human race. The whole four hours follows her struggle to find happiness from start to finish; and in the end, she realizes she doesn't want to give up, regardless of the hard times she faced through the years.


"It baffles me, this world. I don't want to leave
it yet." - Olive Kitteridge

Monday, December 14, 2015

GMO's In America slideshow

GMO's In America

Problem Statement:
GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) are banned/restricted in over 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and every country in the European Union. In America, however, GMO’s are widely used in America and were approved by the government. GMO’s were approved by the government because of studies conducted that “prove” the safety of GMO’s. The studies, however, were conducted by the same people that created GMO’s and that profit from the sale of them. There is a record of more than 2,000 studies which prove that GMO’s are not detrimental to human health, yet there are still many questions about whether they are safe or not, regardless of the extensive number of studies done. 53% of Americans know almost nothing of GMO’s. One fourth say they have never even heard of them. A survey was conducted, and 59% said there should be a label on food products as to whether they are genetically modified, even though most of the participants knew very little about GMO’s; the term “genetically modified” have a negative connotation on its own. Only 26% of americans believe they have consumed a product that has been genetically modified, even though 80% of processed food contains GMO’s. There are no such laws that force food products to have a label stating that they contain GMO’s. On a positive note, GMO’s can, in the future, greatly reduce the use of pesticide. There is also proof that GMO’s have the ability to make food more nutritious. GMO’s can help adapt crops so they can survive drought and an increase in pests. Despite the evidence of GMO’s being beneficial, it is still a subject that is highly debated today.

Research Question:
Does the general public know enough about GMO's to determine whether they are beneficial or detrimental?

Data Collection:
For my data collection, I created a survey asking people of all ages various questions pertaining to GMO’s and various beliefs/facts associated with them. For example, questions pertaining to the dangers and/or benefits of GMO’s were asked, as well as questions that ask opinions about their safety and whether or not they should be legal. Questions were also asked to find out how well each survey taker understood GMO’s and the initial research question was asked in order to find out if there is enough information about GMO’s available to the public in order to truly decide whether or not they are beneficial or detrimental. The survey is linked here.

Data Analysis:
After reviewing the responses to my survey, I have obtained a lot of information.

  • When asked how well they understood GMO’s, only one of 26 participants said they understood them very well, and this same participant was very pro-GMO’s.
  • 18 of 26 participants said there is not enough information available to the public pertaining to GMO’s and how safe or unsafe they are, while 5 were unsure and only 3 said there was enough information.
  • Surveyors were nearly split when asked about how safe GMO’s are. 50% of participants said that GMO’s are not at all safe, while 42.3% said they were somewhat safe and 7.7% said they were very safe.
  • When it came to the check box question, the lowest number of checks per box belonged to the statements that supported GMO’s. The most frequently checked box was checked by 88.5% of the participants, and the statement read that GMO’s effect animals that eat the crop negatively.
  • 68% of the surveyors believe it is illegal to leave out information as to whether or not a product contains GMO’s on the food label, but it is actually legal to leave out whether or not a product is made with GMO’s.
  • Only 23% of the participants believe there have been over 2,000 studies proving the benefits of GMO’s, while 76% believe it is false, but it is actually true.
  • 84.6% of the participants were in the age range 10-20 years old, the oldest participant in the age range of 40-50 years is very pro-GMO’s while most younger ages were very against GMO’s.
  • Though most participants were very against GMO’s, 50% of these participants said they have minimal understanding of GMO’s

Findings:
Through the data I gathered with my data collection survey, I have found out that there is not enough information about GMO’s available to the public in order for them to properly determine their level of safeness. Almost all participants that had answers corresponding to GMO’s being detrimental also said there is not enough information on GMO’s available to the public. Five were unsure and three believed there was enough information, leaving 18 people believing there was not enough. Only 23.1% of participants knew that 80% of processed foods contain GMO’s which also shows a lack of knowledge and understand of just how often they are used. 68% of participants believe it is illegal not to mention whether a product contains GMO’s on the label, though it is indeed perfectly legal, once again showing how little the public knows about GMO’s. However, most participants were in the age range of 10-20, which may show that younger people are more involved with GMO’s and have stronger opinions of them. Overall, the data shows that there is not enough information on GMO’s and their safety readily available and easily accessible to the public.


References:
  • “GMO Facts: Frequently Asked Questions”. Non GMO Project, Web. n.d

  • Entine, John. “29-year study of trillions of meals shows GE crops do not harm food-producing animals, humans”. Genetic Literacy Project, Web. 10 September 2014
  • Branson, Ken. “Most Americans Pay Little Attention to Genetically Modified Foods, Survey Says”. Rutgers Today, Web. 1 November 2013
  • Battelle Staff. “Five Good Reasons To Support GMO’s”. The Battelle Insider, Web. 27 March 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

GMO Survery

Please feel free to take my survey on GMO's to assist in my data collection

Problem Statement and Research Question

GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) are banned/restricted in over 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and every country in the European Union. In America, however, GMO’s are widely used in America and were approved by the government. GMO’s were approved by the government because of studies conducted that “prove” the safety of GMO’s. The studies, however, were conducted by the same people that created GMO’s and that profit from the sale of them [“GMO Facts: Frequently Asked Questions”. Non GMO Project, Web. n.d]. There is a record of more than 2,000 studies which prove that GMO’s are not detrimental to human health, yet there are still many questions about whether they are safe or not, regardless of the extensive number of studies done. [Entine, John. “29-year study of trillions of meals shows GE crops do not harm food-producing animals, humans”. Genetic Literacy Project, Web. 10 September 2014]. 53% of Americans know almost nothing of GMO’s. One fourth say they have never even heard of them. A survey was conducted, and 59% said there should be a label on food products as to whether they are genetically modified, even though most of the participants knew very little about GMO’s; the term “genetically modified” have a negative connotation on its own. [Branson, Ken. “Most Americans Pay Little Attention to Genetically Modified Foods, Survey Says”. Rutgers Today, Web. 1 November 2013]. Only 26% of americans believe they have consumed a product that has been genetically modified, even though 80% of processed food contains GMO’s. There are no such laws that force food products to have a label stating that they contain GMO’s. On a positive note, GMO’s can, in the future, greatly reduce the use of pesticide. There is also proof that GMO’s have the ability to make food more nutritious. GMO’s can help adapt crops so they can survive drought and an increase in pests. [Battelle Staff. “Five Good Reasons To Support GMO’s”. The Battelle Insider, Web. 27 March 2015]. Despite the evidence of GMO’s being beneficial, it is still a subject that is highly debated today.


Research Question: Does the general public know enough about GMO's to determine whether they are beneficial or detrimental? 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Motivation in Journalism

When viewing the film “Freakonomics”, I have learned that the group of sociologists did a study on whether cash awards would drive freshmen students in high school to get better grades. By the end of their discovery, they believed that rewarding the students for getting good grades made them work harder and benefited them as far as learning went. In Daniel Pink’s “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”, the same kind of outcome is expected, but results end up teaching us a lot more about how motivation works. Both pieces performed formal studies, and both had different results. While the topic of motivation is up in the air as far as truth and false, what both studies discovered is interesting regardless.

Daniel Pink’s “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” results in answers contrary to “Freakonomics”. While Freakonomics showed an overall improvement of students grades when they were being awarded with cash prizes, Daniel Pink’s study found that bribery does not mean better end results. Daniel Pink’s study showed that bribery to drive motivation ended with worse results. For example, he references a study done many years ago that involved monkeys being given a simple puzzle. The monkeys, without being bribed, began to enjoy solving the puzzle and solved to quicker each time they were given it. Once being bribed with a banana, however, the monkeys began to perform poorly, taking more time to solve the puzzle with each trial. This showed that the personal reward of solving the puzzle was enough for the monkeys to convince them to strive to do better (contrary to the Freakonomics study). This study ended with the statement that rewards did not drive subjects to do better, but it actually drove them to do worse, due to taking out personal achievement and replacing it with a prize. The Freakonomics study concluded with the statement that rewards do result in better grades and more effort.

While both studies had different results, there was a sort of common ground. We need some sort of motivation in order to convince ourselves to do better. Whether is was money or personal achievement, motivation of some sort was necessary in order to motivate both test groups to try harder. These different results make it impossible to truly verify which kind of motivation works better, but it is certain that motivation of some sort is needed to further yourself, whether it’s earning money for getting better grades or being proud of yourself when solving a puzzle.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Journalistic Investigation Assignment

Earth’s Final Frontier: Mysteries of the Deep Sea


Citation: Mustain, Andrea. “Earth’s Final Frontier: Mysteries of the Deep Sea”. Livescience, Web. 29 September 2011.


Distillation: In the article “Earth’s Final Frontier: Mysteries of the Deep Sea” (2011), Andrea Mustain argues that the importance of the exploration of the deep sea is greatly undermined, given that there is an entire world of creatures yet to be discovered as well as environmental discoveries that are yet to be made. She supports this argument by coming back to the point that a new creature is discovered every time an underwater exploration to the deep sea is made, as well as how these unknown deep sea creatures affect the carbon cycle and how global warming affects the temperature in the deep sea. The purpose of this article is to discuss how little we know of the deep sea and to stress the importance of exploring it more. The audience for this article is anyone who is interested in the deep sea as well as scientists that could possibly take part in deep sea exploration.


Author Ethos and Credibility: Andrea Mustain wrote for Live Science from 2010-2012. She received her bachelor's degree from Northwestern University and received her master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Columbia University.


Objectivity and Bias: This article is objective, as Andrea Mustain also writes.


Sources and Support: All images and sources are credited accordingly.


Thesis: In the unexplored parts of our oceans (95%), hundreds of mysterious creatures exist and we have yet to discover them.


Tone: The tone of this article is very serious and also mysterious.


Opinion: As a being filled with curiosity when it comes to the remaining unreached parts of our ocean, I would be very interested in finding out what else lives there, what species exist, and what mysteries the deep sea holds.


Mystery Monsters of the Deep Dark Sea


Citation: Swancer, Brent. “Mystery Monsters of the Deep Dark Sea.” Mysterious Universe, Web. 11 August 2014.


Distillation: In the article “Mystery Monsters of the Deep Dark Sea” (2014), Brent Swancer discusses various deep sea creatures that have yet to be identified as well as supposed creatures that could be lurking in the deep dark sea in order to spark interest of the topic between scientists and ocean enthusiasts alike. He uses discoveries of monster eels, extremely large sharks, large tentacle marks too giant to be from an ordinary giant squid, and many other things. The purpose is to spark interest in the deep sea and get people to wonder what really exists down in the dark ocean. This article is directed towards scientists and everyday people alike.


Author Ethos and Credibility: Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert that lives in Japan.


Objectivity and Bias: This article is objective.


Sources and Support: All sources are cited correctly and facts are used to support different discoveries.


Thesis: Mysterious creatures exist in the ocean and are yet to be discovered.


Tone: Serious and mysterious.


Opinion: I’m interested in the deep creatures yet to be discovered and hope they are discovered in the near future. It is very interesting that we are exploring outer space when we have only explored 5% of our oceans here on Earth.


Are There Still Undiscovered Sea Monsters?


Citation: Nolan, Hamilton. “Are There Still Undiscovered Sea Monsters?”. Gawker, Web. 17 January 2014.


Distillation: In the article “Are There Still Undiscovered Sea Monsters?” (2014), Hamilton Nolan interviews people such as Stephen Palumbi (professor of marine sciences), Paul Yancey (professor of deep sea biology), and others, and they claim that there could indeed be very large animals still yet to be discovered in the deep ocean. They support their claims by giving examples of recently found species living in the deep ocean, such as the megamouth shark, the giant squid, the oarfish, and different species of jellyfish and squid. The point of this article is for the scientists being interviewed to give their professional opinions as to whether large deep sea creatures could still exist in the deep ocean. This article is directed towards those that are interested in the deep sea as well as those looking for an expert opinion.


Author Ethos and Credibility: Hamilton Nolan has worked as a staff writer for Gawker since 2008.


Objectivity and Bias: This article is objective.


Sources and Support: All sources are cited and some examples are linked.


Thesis: If species of large animals are still being discovered in the deep ocean, monstrous sized animals can also remain undiscovered.


Tone: The tone of this article is serious and also interesting.


Opinion: I also believe there can be “sea monsters” living in the deep ocean. We have only explored 5% of the ocean, which leaves a lot of room for these species to be hiding from us.

Mysteries of the Oceans Remain Vast and Deep


Citation: Mustain, Andrea. “Mysteries of the Oceans Remain Vast and Deep”. Livescience, Web. 8 June 2011.


Distillation: In the article “Mysteries of the Oceans Remain Vast and Deep” (2011), Andrea Mustain claims that there are many mysterious deep sea creatures that have yet to be discovered due to the extreme depths of our ocean. She supports these claims by bringing up the discovery of the Bigfin Squid, a large deep sea squid recently discovered that could be about 26 feet in total length. The purpose of this article is to make readers more interested about the mysteries that lie in the deep ocean. This article is directed towards those studying the deep sea as well as anyone that wishes to learn more about it.


Author Ethos and Credibility: Andrea Mustain wrote for Live Science from 2010-2012. She received her bachelor's degree from Northwestern University and received her master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Columbia University.


Objectivity and Bias: This article is objective.


Sources and Support: The article’s sources are cited correctly,


Thesis: Since we have only explored 5% of our ocean, many mysterious creatures still exist without our knowledge as to what they are.
Tone: The tone of this article is serious and mysterious.


Opinion: I am personally very interested in the mysterious creatures that urk in the deep sea that have yet to be discovered and I hope we discover many more creatures in the near future.


World’s Oceans Remain Largely Mysterious


Citation: Israel, Brett. “World’s Oceans Remain Largely Mysterious”. Livescience, Web. 7 June 2010.


Distillation: In the article “World’s Oceans Remain Largely Mysterious” (2010), Brett Israel believes we are underestimating the importance of exploring our deep oceans and that more should be done to get more information, regardless of difficulties due to such high pressures. He backs up his beliefs by stating that we know more about the moon than we do about the deep oceans here on Earth, and that only 5% of our oceans have been explored, which is a very staggering amount of unexplored ocean. He mentions new findings such as brine pools, underwater waterfalls much longer than Angel Falls, underwater volcanic eruptions, and various new species that have been discovered in our deep oceans. The point of this article is to emphasize the need to explore our oceans. This article is directed to deep sea specialists as well as anyone that may have an interest in the deep sea.


Author Ethos and Credibility: Brett Israel was a staff writer for Live Science that focused on issues with the environment. He received a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and a master’s degree in journalism.


Objectivity and Bias: This article is objective.


Sources and Support: All sources used are cited correctly and pictures are cited.


Thesis: More men have walked on the moon than have been to the deep ocean, which poses the problem that we are exploring space without knowing more about our own planet’s oceans.


Tone: The tone of this article is serious.

Opinion: I also believe that the amount we are spending on space research should be funded into exploring our oceans because we should know more about our own planet before exploring others. Knowing more about the deep sea may even help with understanding things on our planet that have alluded us and may help in our exploration of other planets.

Conclusion:

The five articles I read have told me a lot about the deep sea and why so little of it has been explored. I have learned about numerous different new species living in the deep sea that I did not know about, like the oarfish and the bigfin squid (which I personally believe is the scariest squid I've ever laid my eyes on), Eel larvae that would grow to be an estimated 70 feet long, giant mysterious sharks, new species of jellyfish, and various other things. I also learned about "The Bloop", which scientists believe to be an iceberg breaking but could be an animal of substantial size as well. I learned about astonishing deep sea formations such as brine pools, which are bodies of water located in the deep sea that are saltier than the regular waters, creating the separate body of water, underwater volcanoes, waterfalls, and many others. I learned that the Mariana Trench is so deep that if you put Mt. Everest at the bottom of the trench it would still be submerged for another 7,000 feet. I believe we should invest more time and effort into exploring the deep sea because there is a whole different world of mysteries down there that have yet to be discovered.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

S.P.C. House Show

Meet SPC, a local Norton band, in its entirety. From Left to right: Stephen McDonough (singer/guitarist), the mother of Andrew and Stephen McDonough, Andrew McDonough (drummer), and John McDonough (bassist). This garage show was inspired by the band's eldest member, Stephen McDonough, for his 18th birthday party.
Here is the guest of honor himself, basking in the glory of the crowd of people which came to the show, an estimated 25-30 of his closest friends, also loyal SPC fans.

Story time! Crouched on the ground with SPC fans during the band's song "Johnny Got His Gun", a fan favorite.

Though the temperature was 45 degrees and dropping, both John and Andrew sported short sleeves while Stephen went to mingle. Fun fact: each member of SPC is interchangeable; all three boys are able to play all three instruments.

All in all, the night was very successful, letting everyone leave with smiles. Snatching a front row seat to the performance, SPC went through both original songs and covers alike, managing to keep the spirits high in spite of the cold weather.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Educational Research Unit

Rethinking Homework


Citation: Kohn, Alfie. “Rethinking Homework.” alfiekohn. Alfie Kohn, January/February 2007.


Distillation: In the article “Rethinking Homework” (2007), Alfie Kohn advocates for a change in the amount of homework given and the reasons for assigning it because of how useless it can be and how it negatively affects those told to do it. Kohn supports his beliefs by providing known facts about homework and its negative effect on the kids doing it, as it is most often a waste of time and is often given simply because the teacher believes you should have an assignment to do every night. Kohn also explains that parents, thinking students will not commit academically if not assigned homework daily, believe that as long as their child is doing some sort of busy work, it must be academic. The author’s reasoning for this article is to demolish the routine of blindly assigning students with busy work when it is almost never beneficial for the actual student; he is trying to change the way teachers and parents alike think see homework. Alfie Kohn, being a principal, is sending his message to parents, teachers, students, and all educators alike.


Author Ethos and Credibility: Alfie Kohn is an author and speaker in areas of education, parenting and behavior.


Objectivity and Bias: Alfie Kohn is very objective as an author.


Sources and Support: Alfie Kohn has a very well developed list of sources at the end of the article, which are all cited correctly and all check out.


Thesis: If children are given an excess of homework that consumes most of their afternoon and poses no educational value, they will become frustrated, exhausted, and lose interest in learning.


Tone: The tone is fairly critical, maybe even irritative. It is also serious.


Opinion: While I also believe a lot of homework assignments are simply busy work and do not help in our understanding of the subject, some homework assignments are actually helpful to the student. Some students learn well if they write things down, so homework assignments like copying down notes or translating things (in a world language class) can assist in that student’s ability to remember the content. I believe less homework assignments should be given so we aren’t drowning in homework, and each assignment should be more beneficial to our understanding of the subject.


The Cognitive Benefits of Doodling


Citation: Heller, Steven. “The Cognitive Benefits of Doodling”. The Atlantic, n.d. Web.  9 July 2015.


Distillation: In the article “The Cognitive Benefits of Doodling” (2015), Sunni Brown, John Hendrix, and Steven Heller claim that drawing is a very important part of facilitating thought, and how drawing ability does not reflect intelligence of an individual; heinous drawing could teach one more than a beautiful drawing. They claim that the introduction of computers in art school got rid of drawing classes to make room for software. Doodling is an important tool used to facilitate thought, and art school tends to draw out the fun, so, following the completion of art school, one must learn to draw for fun again. The authors’ purpose is to let us know that drawing is still a very important part of learning and we must not let it fade away into the shadow of new technology. Their message seems to be broadcasted to students and teachers alike, as well as anyone who has picked up a writing utensil and doodle.


Author Ethos and Credibility: Steven Heller is a writer for The Atlantic, co-chair of the MFA design program at the school of visual arts, and co-founder of its MFA design program. Sunni Brown is the author of The Doodle Revolution. She’s the founder and head of Sunni Brown Ink, and is a doodle advocate. John Hendrix is the writer of Drawing Is Magic and believes that enjoyment is a key ingredient for good ideas.


Objectivity and Bias: All three of these writers are objective writers.


Sources and Support: The sources used in this documents are quotes that have come straight from the speaker’s mouth. All quotes and sources add to the article’s overall message.


Thesis: Doodling is an important part of learning to draw and aesthetic properties of doodles do not reflect intelligence.


Tone: The tone of the article is very passionate.


Opinion: I also believe that doodling is an important part of learning. Everyone at one point or another has doodled on something, and I think these doodles reflect thought. Even if you are not a very good artist, your doodles do not need to be aesthetically pleasing. The doodle could be heinous and it will still reflect thought. Doodles are important tools to spark the mind.


The Case Against Grades


Citation: Kohn, Alfie. “The Case Against Grades”. alfiekohn. Alfie Kohn, Web. November 2011.


Distillation: In the article “The Case Against Grades” (2011), Alfie Kohn argues that grades as a whole are not necessary and often discourage one’s eagerness to learn.Alfie Kohn supports this argument by referring back to research that has been done to prove that being graded on work makes students more stressed and less likely to learn more, while students doing an assignment without grades obtains more information. The purpose of this article is for Kohn to be able to spread his beliefs and let people learn his perspective on the situation. He is speaking to the education system as well as students and their parents alike.


Author Ethos and Credibility: Alfie Kohn is an author as well as a speaker of education and parenting.


Objectivity and Bias: Alfie Kohn is an objective speaker and author.


Sources and Support: Kohn provides many reliable sources at the end of the article, cited properly and has evidence to back up his claims.


Thesis: Giving students tests and grading their success is detrimental to their learning process and they obtains less information and drive.


Tone: The tone of this article is very critical.


Opinion: I personally do not agree with Alfie Kohn. Grades are a very good motivational tactic in order to make the student try harder in order to succeed. A lack of grades would not lead to more interest in learning, it would lead to laziness and a tendency to not complete assignments because there would be no harm to their grade as students. The number of teenagers to drop out of high school would rise due to their lack of motivation. Grades drive students to learn the material or they will suffer, and it allows those who do their work to succeed and be rewarded for this

The Coddling of the American Mind


Citation: Lukianoff, Greg, Jonathan Haidt. “The Coddling of the American Mind”. The Atlantic, Web. 25 September 2015.


Distillation: In the article “The Coddling of the American Mind” (2015), Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt claim that trigger warnings are restricting to the mind of the adolescence and that campuses are disabling the student’s ability to become more prepared for the real world by placing trigger warnings on content that the students will not be able to hide from in the real world. Their claims are supported by everyday cases of this happening in colleges and universities and how these things are unavoidable in the real world, and that coddling these students actually means crippling them from real world problems. The purpose of the article is to make readers more aware of the fact that warnings on content that is possibly triggering to someone is unreasonable and it will not happen in the real world. The audience of this article seems to be the general public as well as teachers and the students that expect to see these warnings more often than they are actually present.


Author Ethos and Credibility: Greg Lukianoff is president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and he is also the author of “Unlearning Liberty”. Jonathan Haidt is a psychologist and professor of ethical leadership at the NYU-Stern School of Business.


Objectivity and Bias: Both authors are objective in this article.


Sources and Support: The article has good sources and links to prove the facts they state and the research that has been done.


Thesis: Universities putting trigger warnings on content that could be potentially upsetting is keeping students in the mindset that they will be sheltered from bad things in the real world.


Tone: The tone of this article is serious and critical.


Opinion: I also believe that trigger warnings keep students from learning that they will not be coddled in the real world. There are no warnings of potentially upsetting content in the real world. Coddling these students will keep them from being fully prepared later in life and they will be at a disadvantage compared to others that had been brought up in a less sheltered manner.

Why School Should Start Later in the Morning


Citation: Richmond, Emily. “Why School Should Start Later in the Morning”. The Atlantic, Web. 25 September 2015.


Distillation: In the article “Why School Should Start Later in the Morning” (2015), Emily Richmond believes that start times for school earlier than 8:30 am result in sleep deprived students, and that schools should start later than they do. She explains her beliefs through sleep studies which show that schools that start at 7:20 am have sleep deprived children. Also, Teenagers have a harder time falling asleep before 10:00 pm, yet their start times are earlier than children of the younger age. The purpose of this article is to educate teachers and parents alike about how school start times affect a student’s ability to learn. This article is targeted towards parents, teachers, and even students.


Author Ethos and Credibility: Emily Richmond is the public editor for the National Educators Writers Association and was previously the education reporter for the Las Vegas Sun.


Objectivity and Bias: This article is objective.


Sources and Support: This article has good sources and their facts and research are cited properly.   


Thesis: An early start time for school means sleep deprived students who are less likely to put in 100% effort.


Tone: The tone of this article is serious and concerning.


Opinion: I also believe that schools should start later in the morning. The internal clock of teenagers makes it very hard to fall asleep early, causing us to stay up late. Having to get up early to go to school and getting less than seven hours of sleep drains our energy and makes school a less enjoyable experience. It also leaves us exhausted which makes it harder to pay attention in class.



Conclusion:
The five articles I read and responded to say a lot about the state of education today. America seems to be urging school systems to stray away from the traditional routine of standardized tests and mounds of homework, as well as early start times and a lack of fun. Some urge the school systems to stop coddling us and let us figure things out for ourselves while others believe we need more attention and we need to be given less work. Today, the traditional way schools teach is being questioned and criticized, which may lead to an entire new way of learning in just a few short years. Arguments will be made and they will be followed with rebuttals and schools will undergo changes over the years.